Advertisement

‘Insulting’: Frustration over Airbnb rentals grow in Montreal neighbourhood

Click to play video: 'Montreal east end condo construction target of vandalism over short-term rentals'
Montreal east end condo construction target of vandalism over short-term rentals
A new building in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve has become a poster of the housing crisis in the area. Tenants’ rights activists are denouncing the presence of Airbnb-type rentals in the new construction and say the borough is not doing enough to curb the presence of short-term rentals. But as Gloria Henriquez reports, the borough says their hands are tied and blame the province – Feb 27, 2024

A new building in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve has become a rallying point for protesters concerned about the housing crisis in the area.

Activists are denouncing the presence of Airbnb in the new construction and say the borough is not doing enough to curb the presence of short-term rentals.

But the borough says its hands are tied and blames the province.

The building was recently splattered with paint in protest against the short-term rentals it houses.

“It really shows the exasperation of tenants,” said Yaya Baumann, a housing advocate with FLIP.

Global News found some of the building’s units listed on Airbnb.

Advocates say that’s unacceptable, given the current housing crisis and the borough’s low vacancy rate.

Story continues below advertisement

“Airbnb in general in the neighbourhood is taking around 1.5 and two per cent of the housing stock,” Baumann said.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

Currently, short-term rentals are banned in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve — unless you’re renting your primary residence.

A bylaw to that effect passed in April last year.

Shortly after the bylaw passed, the property manager of the vandalized building sued the borough and the City of Montreal. Court documents show they want the bylaw annulled.

Global News messaged the property managers on Airbnb for comment but didn’t hear back by deadline.

There is little sympathy for the operators, though.

Baumann says the building has become a sort of poster child for the housing crisis.

“It’s pretty, I would say, insulting,” Baumann said.

Advocates want the city to do more to curb Airbnb operators.

Borough Mayor Pierre Lessard-Blais wouldn’t speak about the lawsuit because the matter is before the court. But he says the borough doesn’t have enough powers, especially when it comes to making sure people are telling the truth when they apply for short-term rental permits.

“We’re saying that Quebec has to do more on it, because we cannot verify where is the real main residence of a person,” Lessard-Blais said.

Story continues below advertisement

Baumann says the city is passing the buck.

“So we don’t really know where to knock anymore,” Baumann said.

Hundreds of people are expected to show up March 6 in front of the building to protest Airbnb and to show there is no social acceptability for short-term rentals in the area.

Sponsored content

AdChoices